China can’t get enough of high speeds. Already boasting the world’s largest high-speed rail network, the country is poised to speed up its air travel. Chinese online travel company Ctrip announced on April 25 the completion of a strategic investment in US supersonic jet startup Boom Supersonic. No specific details about the size of this investment were revealed.
The investment comes as a surprise because it’s not directly related to Ctrip’s core business and the project is still premature for business application. But the online travel firm is pretty optimistic about this tie-up.
“Such strategic investment offers a wealth of opportunities for both companies. Ctrip makes investments in the future so that we remain at the forefront of providing top services for our users. The future that the Chinese market holds is positive and we hope that from this investment and collaboration with Boom, they could help us to discuss arranging 10-15 seats in one of the first supersonic flights,” Ctrip spokesperson told TechNode.
Under the deal, Ctrip will help Boom accelerate its ongoing partnership efforts with airlines in China. The two companies are working to make the world more accessible by halving flight times from China to the United States, South Asia, and Oceania.
Boom is applying the proceeds to accelerate the development of the company’s Mach-2.2 airliner, which could travel at 2,335 km/hour or 1,451 miles/hour, more than double the price of regular passenger airplanes at the same cost as today’s business class fares. “San Francisco to Shanghai, for example, could shrink from 11 hours to 6—and a typical round-trip itinerary can be accomplished two whole days faster,” Boom CEO Blake Scholl said in a press statement. The plane will enter service in the mid-2020s.
Ctrip has made an investment into Boom Supersonic, joining other strategic partners like Japan Airlines to accelerate the future of air travel. Previously, Japan Airlines has also pre-ordered 20 Boom aircraft, joining Virgin Group as a Boom launch customer.
The Chinese market, now the world’s second largest and one of the fastest growing, is expected to surpass the US in size by 2022, according to the International Air Transportation Association.